Warmer Spring weather has been motivating me to run, bike, and hike outdoors, and now my hips need a little attention. This relaxing pose is called Half Happy Baby. It's one of my favorite hip openers because you can focus on one hip at a time, and you can control the intensity of the stretch too. This pose also stretches out your lower back (tight backs often come with tight hips and hamstrings).
- Begin lying flat on your back.
- Bend your right knee, placing both hands on your shin, and hug it into your chest - this feels great on your lower back.
- Now reach for your right foot with both hands, pulling your knee to the outside of your right ribs, just below your shoulder. Your hands can control the amount of pressure you need, but as they press down, try to keep your left hip on the mat.
- Stay here as long as you want, but don't forget to do the other side. You want to be "even" happy baby.
That's it. Half Happy Baby pose feels great before and after working out, and I even do it in bed when I first wake up. There's nothing like the feeling of stretching out tight hips and a stiff lower back.